Guidance

Healthcare for UK nationals living in Poland

How to get state healthcare if you live, work or study in Poland.

This information is about living in Poland. There is different guidance about visiting Poland.

Poland has an insurance-based healthcare system.

If you’re not insured, you may be charged for using state healthcare services. At the moment, UK nationals usually access the Polish healthcare system in one of these ways:

  • paying insurance contributions to the Polish state health system state through their employer
  • paying voluntary insurance contributions to the Polish state health system directly
  • taking out private health insurance
  • using a UK-issued EHIC for temporary stays
  • registering an UK-issued S1 with the Polish state health system

The S1 certificate entitles UK nationals access to state healthcare on the same basis as a Polish citizen. You’re entitled to an S1 if you receive a UK State Pension or certain other benefits. Find out more about the S1.

Healthcare during the transition period

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals visiting or living in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC during this time, as you did before.

If you’re living in Poland or move there permanently before the end of 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Poland as you do now, provided you remain legally resident.

You may need to register or apply for residency. This guidance explains what you need to do in Poland depending on your circumstances.

Healthcare if you live and work in Poland

If you’re employed, monthly insurance contributions to the National Health Fund (NFZ) are taken from your salary before you’re paid.

If you’re self-employed or not working, you can pay voluntary insurance contributions directly to the National Health Fund each month. You cannot do this if you’re registered as unemployed in Poland.

Your dependants will be covered by your insurance if they do not have their own.

How to register

First, register as a resident at the administrative offices of your provincial authority.

You then need to register with the National Health Fund.

If you work for a Polish employer, they will register you.

If you’re self-employed or not working, go to your regional branch of the National Health Fund.

Find out what documents you need to bring from the National Health Fund website.

Show ID and proof of your insurance when you visit a doctor.

How much you’ll pay

Monthly contributions cost 9% of your salary if you’re employed.

If you’re self-employed or not working, monthly contributions are based on national average salary.

State medical services are free if you pay insurance contributions, but you need to pay for some prescription medicines.

You can use some private medical facilities for free, if the facility has a signed contract with the Polish state health system.

Healthcare during the transition period if you live and work in Poland

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

If you’re living in Poland or move there permanently before the end of 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Poland as you do now, provided you remain legally resident.

This means you’ll also have the right to apply for a UK S1 if you start drawing a UK State Pension.

You may need to register or apply for residency depending on your circumstances.

If your UK employer has sent you to Poland temporarily (‘posted workers’)

A posted worker is someone who is employed or self-employed in the UK, but temporarily sent to another European Economic Area (EEA) country.

Currently, posted workers can use an EHIC or an S1 certificate to access Polish healthcare.

HMRC has a helpline for National Insurance enquiries from non-UK residents. They can answer questions about posted worker status and explain which documents you will need to get healthcare while posted.

Healthcare during the transition period if you’re a posted worker

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC or S1 during this time, as you did before.

UK-funded healthcare: getting and using an S1 in Poland

You may be entitled to state healthcare paid for by the UK if you live in Poland and receive either:

  • a UK State Pension
  • some other ‘exportable benefits’

Not all UK benefits that can be claimed while abroad entitle you to UK-funded healthcare. Read more about claiming benefits if you move abroad or contact Jobcentre Plus to ask about a benefit.

You may also be entitled to an S1 if you’re a posted worker or a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another). You must contact HMRC National Insurance enquiries to find out if you’re eligible.

Once you have an S1 certificate, you must register it on the Polish system.

This will mean you and your dependants will be entitled to healthcare on the same basis as a Polish citizen.

How to get an S1

If you have a UK State Pension, you must request an application form by phone from NHS Overseas Healthcare Services.

NHS Overseas Healthcare Services
Telephone: 0191 218 1999
Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

How to use an S1 in Poland

You must register your S1 with the National Health Fund.

Once registered, you will be given a certificate confirming your registration with NFZ. This shows that you’re entitled to healthcare on the same basis as a Polish citizen.

Healthcare during the transition period if you use an S1

There is different guidance if you have an S1 as a posted worker.

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK S1 holders in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020 if you’re either:

  • someone with an exportable UK State Pension
  • someone with another ‘exportable benefit’
  • a frontier worker (someone who works in one state and lives in another)

If you’re living in Poland or move there permanently before the end of 2020, you’ll have life-long healthcare rights in Poland as you do now, provided you remain legally resident.

This means that you’ll get:

  • continued access to healthcare in Poland using your UK-issued S1
  • a UK-issued EHIC for travelling to other countries in the EU
  • planned treatments in other EU countries via the S2 route

You may need to register or apply for residency depending on your circumstances.

Moving back to the UK

If you return to the UK permanently you will be able to use the NHS like any other UK resident. Read more about using the NHS when you return to live in the UK.

Studying in Poland

You can apply for a student EHIC. This is different from a normal EHIC, and entitles you to cover for longer.

An EHIC is not a replacement for travel insurance. You should also have insurance to cover the duration of your course.

Healthcare during the transition period if you’re studying in Poland

There will be no changes to healthcare access for UK nationals in the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland before the end of 2020.

You can continue to use your EHIC during this time, as you did before.

If you started studying in Poland before the end of 2020, your student EHIC will be valid for the rest of the time you study there.

Published 23 September 2019
Last updated 31 January 2020 + show all updates
  1. Details on the ways that you access healthcare have been updated. The guidance now only covers living, working and studying. Information on visiting has been moved to: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/uk-residents-visiting-the-eueea-and-switzerland-healthcare

  2. First published.